Thursday 25 May 2017

New book

This is an old blog but if you have ended up here recently (say, 2017) you might be looking for my new book 'Turn'. To find that please go to my website.


Wednesday 3 August 2011

New direction

So we're back from our six months trip to Canada and the USA. I've posted the last travel post (over there) and there will be just a map and a final round-up to come in a few days and then that blog will be left alone for a while I suppose (maybe forever). As for this one (this blog that I have been keeping since, can you believe it, 2007!) I just started to feel it had run its course so I'm leaving it today and moving to a new place. For a start the format/template of this one looks so old now but I can't bear to change it at this stage - partly because this is the way it's always looked and I've had some good times within these boxes (some hard times too). This blog has seen me through all kinds of poetry nonsense, the death of my Mum, various changes and friendships and complications... so I am just going to leave it as it is and take a bit of a hike over to a new blog over here. Come visit. Bring cookies.


p.s. Mark took this photo at Thessalon, Ontario a couple of weeks back.

Sunday 22 May 2011

California Cheatin'

Photo - Venice Beach, L.A. Friday night.

So I am still not really here (still there...) but as I am currently visiting this week's Poetry Jam host (in California, darling) it seemed very rude not to at least try to join in. Her two prompts are both great (they're here) and if I was at home and working as normal I would probably write new poems for both of them but as it is... I am not and so I won't. Truth be told I've barely written a line of poetry since we've been away... and I don't say that in any kind of bad or sad way - if anything it's been a really pleasant change. I feel very free of anything to say just now - just happy looking.

So what to post..? I have an oldish poem about the politics of kids' playgrounds and parenting and it is mainly about Dads so I thought I'd go with this one (I don't think it's been on the blog before... I might be wrong of course... it's not coming up in the search anyway). I do have lots of poems about my own Dad (of course!) but I'm really not in the mood for any of them right now. So here is the playground one... and maybe I'll get to honky tonk when I get home...

Dads army

In combat trousers
Some long
Some short
They wear the modern camouflage
For parks and play areas
It's a must
The beige and grey and khaki green
Nice modern men blend in
Avoid unnecessary conversations
Mums can't seem to dodge so well
These are the loaded guns
"He's very small isn't he?"
"Does she eat fruit?"
"Oh, an only child"

Shaven heads
Trainers in winter
Maybe risking open sandals
In summer
But in a neutral colour
Dads keep their mouths closed
Their eyes and ears open
Not at war but always prepared
They don't fall in traps
Mums could learn a lot from their approach
No hearts on sleeves
No nervous wittering
No defensive play
Just cropped heads steady
Resolve firm
No time wasted
We're here to play, kids
So play

RF 2005 (or so)

Saturday 2 April 2011

Titus Bus

I'm not really here (because I'm there) but Titus has a Poetry Bus prompt this week and it made me write a little something. Titus' prompt is here and writing a response was quite a surprise because so far on our trip I've written mainly diary notes and travel blog stuff. I haven't even wanted to write poetry... or think about it hardly (though I have read a bit of Edna St. Vincent Millay and I've squabbled a bit with a book of Billy Collins...). My little Bus poem is right here:


I keep looking for you in the wild

But it is a long hunt

And getting tougher all the time

I would see your flash of blue

Your jolly brightness

It might change everything

RF 2011

Photo above taken South Street, Philadelphia, 28.3.11

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Maybe this time...

we really are going (my, this has been a long good-bye).

But finally, as of tomorrow, I will be away from this particular desk for six months. In the meantime you can find me here or via email/facebook. See you on the flip side, friends.


Saturday 29 January 2011

Wandering away...

Photo taken 01.01.00, Nottinghamshire, England.

So much going on right now... just days till we go and my head has been up and down and all around. I think I am winning the battle for calm in my head though (the war against terror indeed!). Well, sometimes. In an attempt to capture sanity I've been enjoying the clips below courtesy of other people's postings on facebook and blogs. They both feature Tom Waits showing how to really read poems aloud (poems by Charles Bukowski). Even if you've seen them before... maybe watch them again... and most of all listen (the sound! The sound!). I know some people (Colin McGuire...) have been Bukowski fans for ages but it was really only the Waits touch and sound that brought me in to these poems, that sat me down and said 'these are good, these will be good to you'. And they are.

Also we watched the movie 'Into the Wild' (2007, dir. Sean Penn) this week (highly recommended... had forgotten how much I love William Hurt for a start). The movie features a brilliant poem by Sharon Olds (text here) – it's called 'I Go Back to May 1937' (and I had read it before but, unlike Mr Penn, I had forgotten it). The clip with the poem is here - can't embed it, sorry). I like it when movies use poems well and this one really does (and who would have guessed that that young yob Sean Penn would turn into such a real star?). Great music from Eddie Vedder in the film too.

And finally... a mini poem from me for this week's Poetry Bus (task over at NanU's). I did write this over a few days (there was a Thursday but it was so bloody whingey that I'm afraid I just couldn't stand the sight of it and out it went!). Here's what's left.

Outside, outside

on Wednesday
a week stretches out like a tired old inner tube
by Friday
a walk in cold, fresh air can work wonders

RF 2011

So, that's me. As of this coming Wednesday I'll see you on the other side.... here!


Friday 28 January 2011

Stay with me

Some of you may not have realised that the poem in the last post was partly written as a response to the song in the clip below. Before you watch I should warn you however that this song is pop-dirge-cheese of the highest order (and some crazy outfits in the video too). It's from 1996 and is on the soundtrack for the movie 'Space Jam' (never seen that myself... it stars basketball star Michael Jordan and... Bugs Bunny...).

That song was written, produced and performed by R Kelly and I can't say I've ever known much about him or listened to much of his music. Funny though, how songs you don't like can stick in your head and sometimes even prompt work/poems that you do quite like. All the world's material...